Thursday, July 8, 2010

Field Work Finished

"The Email from the warehouse says we can pick up the books anytime after 10:00 AM," I tell Nancy. "Let's plan to leave about 9:30."

Eager to see the results of over a year's work, we
drive to the warehouse, located just off Highway 100 in Minneapolis, to pick up our new book, If I Were a Farmer: Field Work.

Although I call it a new book, the story in this book came to life in 2004 when, after writing the first version, I hired David Jewell, a freelance illustrator living in Lakeland, MN, to illustrate the book. David impressed me from the start with his unique style, fun characterizations, and his willingness to ensure that the farm depictions were accurate. Nancy did the coloring and layout on her Mac, printed the book at home, and manually bound the book with the plastic combs as shown below in the picture of our first version called, If I Were a Farmer, Adventure 3.  

 Original version of the story                      Original versions of my 10 stories 

We had been selling this homemade version of the book for over three years and homemade versions of nine other books  for over seven years before we decided our books should  have a bar code and a more professional, finished-product look so they could be sold in book stores. That was when I decided to re-write and re-illustrated the books and get a professional publisher. In 2007, I contacted Beaver's Pond Press, Inc., Edina, MN., and they agreed to publish my books. Since then, Nancy  and I have been preparing the books, one by one, for publishing with Beaver's Pond Press. Since 2008, Beaver's Pond Press has published five of our books, the latest, A Farm Country Thanksgiving, will be out in August.

I like working with Beaver's Pond Press because they provide professional managers, illustrators, editors, layout designers, proofreaders, and printers to ensure that each book is the best it can be. Then they help with some marketing advice and provide ongoing newsletters and personal contacts for support. In addition, I can store my books in a warehouse that receives and ships incoming orders to customers.

"As we drive to the back of the warehouse, I tell Nancy, "I think the second door is the one we want." After I stop, she steps out of the truck, and I carefully back up to the open dock door where a pallet of books awaits to be loaded.

Managing his warehouse tasks efficiently, Doug has our order prepared to load, and after I sign the paperwork, he hands the boxes off to me.

I thank him for the help and tell him we will see him in about a month when my next book comes out.
"The more the merrier!" he replies. You gotta like Doug. He's helpful, friendly, and always seems glad to do his job.

 Nancy and I open a box to page through a copy of the published book for the first time. We both grin with pleasure. "Looks great!" I exclaim.

Nancy says, "I'm glad we'll have this book to sell at our booth at FARMFEST on August 3,4, and 5. I think customers will like how the illustrations accurately show farm tasks being done the modern way on one page while on the facing page it shows the same tasks as it was done in 1950. It has a glossary of farm terms at the end, too."

"I'm hoping adults will think my book is funny, accurate, and cute," I add. "I know the original was pretty popular." Then, being a smart husband, I work in a compliment. "You did a lot of work on this, Nancy. Adjusting the detail on the illustrations and coloring the pages took a lot of patience."

She smiles, which is my reward for the whole endeavor.

"Next: Tommy's Adventure," she says, referring to her next project of adjusting detail and coloring the pages for If I Were a Farmer: Tommy's Adventure. 

As I drive home, in the seat next to me Nancy pages through our new book, commenting on her favorite pair of pages contrasting the old and modern farm techniques.
 The words may be too small to read in the samples below, but I think the illustrations say it all:

Weed control

Harvesting oats

For more information on my books, go to

Stop to see us at FARMFEST. We will be ion booth T2103 of the Craft, Toy, Home and Garden Pavilion.
For more information, go to their website at

Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson, except for the two I snapped of her.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations, Gordon and Nancy! I look forward to reading If I Were a Farmer, Field Work. Looks like another great book.

    When you're at Farm Fest, you'll be in my home territory, the heart of the prairie. I hope that endeavor is an outstanding success.